Spring Break cruising is right around the corner and before we know it Summer cruise season will be here in full swing. Thousands of families who have their sailing booked for either of the popular travel periods are looking forward to a nice warm sailing in the Caribbean or Bahamas. Looking ahead, thoughts of interesting places they’ll see, fun things to do on and off the ship and more help fill the time as the countdown to sailing seems to drag on. This year, how about thinking about safety too, on the most basic of levels.
Put the words ‘safety’ and ‘security’ in the same sentence as ‘travel’ and thoughts turn to common sense ways to go and come back without incident. Frankly though, we all know the odds of being robbed, attacked or falling to some other misfortune are slim, made even less with common sense guidelines like sticking together, staying in safe parts of foreign ports and more. On the other hand, many families find themselves swimming somewhere along the line and some water safety tips provided by the United States Swim School Association can go a long way to making sure everyone has a great time without incident.
- Create a verbal cue that must be given by an adult before children can enter the pool.
- Select a parent to be the designated “water watcher”. This adult should not be drinking alcohol while children are in or near water.
- Always go with children to the hotel pool. Do not let them swim unsupervised. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you are on vacation from being a responsible parent. Don’t allow children to go to the kiddie pool without adult supervision. Lounging in the adult pool while your kids are swimming alone is an accident waiting to happen.
- Do not use water wings or pool floats as a substitution for supervision if your child is not a strong swimmer.
- Take time to familiarize your children with the pool they will be swimming in, i.e. where the shallow and deep ends are, where stairs to get in and out are located, where they can and cannot swim.
- If visiting a beach destination, do not rely on lifeguards to constantly monitor your children. You cannot be sure how experienced a lifeguard is and should never assume. It might take a new guard time to notice an unsafe situation and you need to be ready to react first if your child needs help.
- Before allowing children to wade into the ocean, explain to them that they need to constantly be watching for waves that could knock them over and other potential dangers. Parents should constantly be on the lookout as well.
- If cousins and relatives are swimming together, gather the adults of your extended family and create an agreed upon set of pool rules before the kids are allowed into the water. It is also important for the adults of the group to meet and discuss each child’s skill level prior to allowing the kids into the water so everyone has the same expectations of what is normal or an emergency.
- If you have a pool at home be sure to take precautions before traveling. Secure fences, gates, door locks and covers so an accident does not occur while you are away.
Want to know more about safe swimming? Visit the United States Swim School Association website and/or see this interesting video: